Permanent sovereignty over natural resources in the OPT and Golan – GA Second Cttee debate

Second Committee 


Summary record of the 24th meeting 

Held at Headquarters, New York, on Tuesday, 8 November 2016, at 3 p.m. 


 Chair:  Mr. Djambi…………………………………………………………….  (Indonesia) 






Agenda item 59: Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources  




The meeting was called to order at 3.05 p.m.


Agenda item 59: Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (continued) (A/C.2/71/L.35)

Draft resolution on permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources (A/C.2/71/L.35)

22. The Chair said that draft resolution A/C.2/71/L.35 contained no programme budget implications and that Turkey had joined the list of sponsors.

23. Ms. Niyomthai (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, said that the Group reiterated its unwavering and unequivocal support for the economic development efforts and aspirations of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan. That agenda item was indivisible and relevant to the work of the Committee, and the implementation of the draft resolution was important. The 2030 Agenda and other major outcome documents of the sustainable development framework offered hope for the betterment of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation. However, the report of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) on the economic and social repercussions of the Israeli occupation on the living conditions of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan (A/71/86-E/2016/13) had revealed that the Palestinian and Syrian people would not enjoy the fruits of sustainable development until they had sovereignty over their natural resources. In the implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda, therefore, the international community must not forget the severe difficulties faced by countries and peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, and must strive to achieve the full realization of the right of self-determination.

24. Mr. Mansour (Israel), speaking in explanation of vote before the voting, said that the ESCWA report (A/71/86-E/2016/13) was one-sided and based on selective and often unreliable data. In short, it was everything that a report of the United Nations should not be. Such reports, and the statements made in connection with the agenda item, formed another chapter in the saga of anti-Israel sentiment that had turned the United Nations into the Palestinians’ private theatre of the absurd. Both the report and the draft resolution distorted the facts and undermined the Committee’s credibility by ignoring the real factors that were impeding Palestinian development.

25. His country had fulfilled its obligations under the water agreement signed by both sides in 1995, whereas the Palestinians continually drilled unauthorized wells and allowed Palestinian sewage to drain into Israeli streams. Israel continued to supply the Gaza Strip with water even though it was under the control of the Hamas terrorist organization. However, the Palestinian Authority was obstructing water infrastructure improvements by refusing to sign the protocol to the water agreement or to provide estimates of its population and water needs. Without a change in Palestinian behaviour, a severe water crisis could be expected in the coming summer.

26. At a time when Israelis and Palestinians needed to rise above their political differences to confront the threats posed to both by climate change, the draft resolution only served to push the two sides further apart. It made no mention of the 2016 agreement waiving a significant portion of the Palestinian Authority’s debt to Israel, the ongoing cooperation in the field of pest control or the efforts of Israel to combat the smuggling of hazardous waste. His delegation had called for a vote on the draft resolution, and urged any delegations that cared about the integrity of the Committee to vote against it.

A recorded vote was taken on draft resolution A/C.2/71/L.35.

In favour:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.


Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Palau, South Sudan, United States.


Australia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Togo, Tonga, Vanuatu

Draft resolution A/C.2/71/L.35 was adopted by 155 votes to 8, with 10 abstentions.

27. Ms. Zolcerová (Slovakia), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that, as in the past, the European Union would support the draft resolution. However, the use of the term Palestine in the draft resolution could not be construed as recognition of the State of Palestine and was without prejudice to the individual position of Member States on that issue and on the validity of accession by Palestine to the conventions and treaties mentioned therein.

28. In addition, the adoption of the draft resolution was without prejudice to the results of the discussions on the revitalization of the work of the Second Committee, in particular with regard to the addition of subjects to the agenda and the reports ensuring the relevance, efficiency and effectiveness of the Committee’s work.

29. Mr. Shawesh (Observer for the State of Palestine) said that in the case of the Palestinian question, there was a clear dividing line between absolute good and absolute evil, as was illustrated by the lopsided vote in favour of the draft resolution. However, he conceded that the draft resolution would change nothing on the ground. Israel, with the encouragement of certain other States would continue to flout international law by moving its citizens onto occupied land and building its racist separation wall.

30. What the representative of the occupying Power had said about cooperation on the water issue was a pack of lies. Israel stole the bulk of its water from the West Bank, and millions of cubic metres were also being stolen from Gaza. During the first four months of the occupation in 1967, Israel had issued no fewer than five military orders that gave it control over Palestinian water. The ESCWA report documented how the 2014 Gaza war had affected water supplies for up to 1 million people, and calculated the water consumption of Israelis on the West Bank at seven times that of Palestinians, leaving some Palestinians with as little as one fifth of the per capita daily amount of water recommended by the World Health Organization.

31. Mr. Mansour (Israel), speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that at a time when Israel and the entire world were fighting terrorism on all fronts, the issues of the environment and climate change could serve as a bridge to peace. However, the Palestinians were refusing to sign a protocol to the water agreement that would increase the supply of water to both the West Bank and Gaza. Israel was doing the best it could without Palestinian cooperation. The representative of the Palestinian Authority himself had conceded that 95 per cent of households in the West Bank were connected to running water. He called on the international community to pressure the Palestinian Authority to cooperate on an issue where the two sides had common ground.

The meeting rose at 4.05 p.m.


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